The Scotland-Canada connection
Did you know that Scotland was headed toward a referendum on independence? I confess I didn't really grasp that news until June of this year, when I wandered downstairs in my building here and ran into a University of Ottawa constitutional professor who was about to do an interview with BBC. Subject of the interview/documentary? What Scotland has been learning from Quebec.(It turned into a great documentary, by the way. Click on the link to hear it.)
This all got me interested in the Scotland-Canada connection, which took me to Edinburgh and Glasgow this September. And the product of all that travelling/interest appeared in this weekend's Star, headlined "Liberty's in every blow," and "For Scots nationalists, a French connection."
At right, you'll see Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, and yes, that's the Toronto skyline as the screensaver in one of the computers in her office. (One of her aides worked in Toronto in the past.) Plans are not totally finalized yet, but expect to see Hyslop in Ottawa and Toronto by the end of the year.
In the process of doing this story, I also did an Access to Information request, seeking any documents from the Canadian government that would shed some light on how we're approaching this independence quest. I can't say there's anything overtly political in here (no Vive l'Ecosse libre), but if you're interested, here's the pile of emails I received. Download Canada-Scotland-ATIPrequest
Scotland's approach to Canada, meanwhile, is a little easier to find. A little less than a year ago, the SNP government released what it calls its Canada Plan, and it's a pretty comprehensive, if apolitical, overview of how important Canada is to Scotland's plans for its future. You can have a look at the whole plan by starting at this link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/International/Americas/north-america/canadaplan